The Dutch in Seventeenth-Century Senegambia and the Emergence of Papiamentu


in Brokers of Change

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780197265208
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754180 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Dutch in Seventeenth-Century Senegambia and the Emergence of Papiamentu

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter explores the presence of the first Dutch West India Company (WIC) in 17th-century Senegambia, particularly in the Petite Côte region. The WIC's activity in this part of Upper Guinea is traditionally marginalised in the literature, but must be reconsidered in light of the compelling linguistic similarities between Papiamentu (the creole language of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and Upper Guinea Portuguese Creole (a cover term for the sister creole varieties of the Cape Verde Islands, Guinea-Bissau and the Senegalese province of Casamance). The chapter illustrates how the conquest (in 1621) and possession (until 1677) of Gorée guaranteed Dutch commercial dominance in the Senegambia region, a period in which the language transfer from Upper Guinea to Curaçao must have occurred. It furthermore describes how the Dutch episode in Upper Guinea came to an abrupt end after the loss of Gorée and other Petite Côte factories to the French.

Keywords: West India Company; Papiamentu; Portuguese Creole; Senegambia; Petite Côte; Gorée; Cacheu; Lemos Coelho

Chapter.  10287 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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